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In Defense of General Dynamics


With all the earnings announcements, don't miss this company.

Am I the only guy in the entire civilized world that didn't watch the game last night? And it was all anyone was talking about on my commute and here on the desk. Don't get me wrong, I love sports -- and baseball (which I played) in particular. But at the end of the day, it's just a bunch of guys hitting a ball with a stick. (I can feel my email inbox filling up as I write.)

Asian stocks got a real smackdown overnight. The Hang Seng and the Nikkei were off 2.28% and 1.83%, respectively. European stocks were mixed early this morning. And here in the US, we're currently trading higher.

Here's what I'm seeing this morning:

General Dynamics (GD):
The defense company put up $1.48 a share from continuing ops in its third quarter. That was better than the $1.40 the Street was looking for

My thoughts:

1. While I suspect there won't be a lot of people paying attention given the plethora of earnings that are out there today, General Dynamics deserves to be snuggled up to -- the beat was a good one. And in the release, the following line from its chief executive caught my eye: "Based on the strength of the third-quarter results, we are increasing our guidance for full-year 2009 earnings from continuing operations to $6.15 to $6.20 per share, fully diluted."

2. The company trades at about 10.4 times this year's estimate and kicks off a sweet little dividend.

3. The world is a dangerous place and odds are we're still going to need defense-related products in the future.

LSI Corporation (LSI):
The chipmaker was out with its third-quarter numbers. It put up $0.18 excluding items, which is leaps and bounds better than the $0.04 the Street was looking for. And for the fourth quarter, it's looking for $0.07 to $0.13, which isn't too shabby because the estimate I'm seeing is $0.06.

My two cents:

1. Clearly I see it as good news, and I think a couple of years out, the stock will be trading much higher than it is today. But that road could be a bit bumpy. I'd also argue that it's a bit hard to get excited about the $0.26 the Street is expecting for 2010, even if there could be some upside to that number.

2. If it gets to and stays above $5, I'd feel a lot more comfortable and might be willing to pull the trigger.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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